As a small business owner for over 20 years, I’ve seen firsthand how decisions in Columbia can have a huge impact on business development and job growth – many times being the determining factor in an employer’s ability to expand their business and create jobs.
I will support legislation that reduces burdensome regulation and provides a favorable climate for business growth and expansion. This includes looking for opportunities to build on the success of the 2012 Fairness in Civil Justice Act to reduce employer exposure to frivolous law suits and excessive damage awards. Furthermore, we need to control the costs of our workers compensation and unemployment programs. Currently, South Carolina has the 17th highest workers compensation premiums in the country. This must be addressed to reduce the burden these premiums place on employers.
In order to continue to attract large manufacturers and the lucrative jobs they bring, we must make sure we place increased emphasis on secondary and technical school education. These businesses offer exceptional wages and benefits but require a highly skilled workforce. We must invest in the technical education of our youth and continue to retrain our existing workforce in order to prepare them for today’s demanding but rewarding jobs.
South Carolina is the least unionized state in the country. We take pride in that fact and have enjoyed an influx of manufacturers avoiding the low productivity and high operating costs experienced in the union strongholds of the northeast and northwest. I will fight to ensure that employers and business owners, not union bosses, are able to make the best decisions for themselves and their employees.
JOBS AND THE ECONOMY
South Carolina has the highest assessment rate in the country for industrial property taxes at 10.5%. Large manufacturers are able to negotiate Fee-In-Lieu-of-Tax (FILOT) arrangements to help reduce this burden. However, small and medium-sized manufacturers do not have similar leverage and must weigh the impact of increased property taxes with each expansion consideration. This can limit growth and needs to be revised.
South Carolina has the 13th highest personal income tax rate in the country. This rate is too high and in fact is higher than the SC corporate tax rate. This places an unfair burden on small business owners for whom business profits are usually taxed at the higher personal income tax rate. I will work to reduce our personal and corporate income taxes and support sensible and fair flat tax proposals.
To continue to attract business investment to our community and state, it is critical that we maintain our roads and vital infrastructure. Unfortunately, many of our roads and bridges are rated as either in need of repair or structurally deficient - creating a safety risk, unnecessary expense reimbursing motorists for damage, and poor representation of our state. I am committed to reforming the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) and working with members of both the state House and Senate to pass a highway funding plan that fixes our roads and provides sustainable funding for future maintenance.
As a veteran, I am particularly sensitive to the needs of our veterans and their families. I will defend the health and financial stability of all veterans and work to provide employment opportunities and proper medical care for those returning from overseas deployment.
Local and state law enforcement have been under siege by those quick to condemn any enforcement action resulting in injury and/or death regardless of the circumstances. The criminals become the victims and law enforcement officers can become paralyzed by the potential ramifications of doing their job. I will strongly advocate for our local and state law enforcement and emergency services personnel by ensuring they have the equipment, training, and support necessary to keep our citizens and themselves safe.
I will work to promote current and future missions at the Savannah River Site. I will advocate for both the environmental clean-up mission and the future growth and expansion of the Savannah River National Lab (SRNL). SRNL is a National treasure located in our own backyard and should be supported. Their recent decision to locate the Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative at USC-Aiken demonstrates SRNL’s commitment to our area and is a potential “game changer” for the Aiken community.